As stated in our last blog post, it has been an incredible year for technology in Ireland and next year is building on this trend. As well as being home to some of the top companies in the world, Ireland is also fast becoming a global hub for technology start-ups. Innovative and exciting technology companies are continually being established, but one problem with this is that the sheer number of new companies in a similar field creates a saturated market in which it is hard to be noticed.
With so much competition between start-ups it has never been more important to have a PR strategy in place to help get noticed for all the right reasons. This is something that can be easily overlooked. Every euro is important and companies want something tangible to show for it. Although initially hard to see the return on the investment, PR in the long run can be crucial to the launch of your company and its subsequent growth. Remember Bill Gates’ comment: "If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations."
There are numerous ways PR can help a start-up in the beginning:
- Firstly before announcing your company to the world, it is important to know exactly what your unique key message is and who you want to target. Different approaches and mediums are suited to different audiences, whether it is B2B or B2C, and recognising and adapting to this is fundamental to having a successful PR strategy;
- Another thing which can often be overlooked is employer branding. You have to make people want to work for you by making your company appear fun and a place that cares about and nurtures the success of employees. This will ensure that the top people want to work for you and having the best workforce possible is a huge asset.;
- It creates awareness about your product within your target market by getting in touch with the right people in the media and informing them about your product and other interesting developments in the company;
- It can help utilise your online presence. PR can greatly improve your SEO and this - coupled with good social media management - can greatly increase visitors to your site and product awareness;
- It can often help secure investors as having respected, independent media coverage looks impressive. It also builds confidence and belief in the company;
- People and businesses today carry out a lot more research before they actually make a buying decision. Having coverage in independent media adds instant credibility to your company. Remember, research proves that 57% of the B2B buying process is complete before the first serious sales engagement. The modern buyer does the research before meeting sales. You need to provide credible sources of information to allow the buyer to do their due diligence. What better than independent online and offline media coverage.
Simple things start-ups can do themselves to get started on their PR are:
- Pitching your idea to the right journalists while making sure that what you have to say is newsworthy. Journalists are extremely busy so it has to be something they, other businesses or consumers will care about. Make their life a lot easier by providing them with all the information they need in your pitch; a little background on the company and what’s unique and interesting about what you have to offer;
- Create interesting, informative material for your website and social media; maybe even start a blog. These online tools are also another great way of promoting any coverage you’ve already achieved in the media to a larger number of people;
- Network with the right people and go to the right events. Anywhere you can meet like-minded people in a similar field is somewhere you should be.
It can be very tempting in the beginning to dedicate all of your time to developing the product or service but you have to think about the business as a whole and having the validation of a respected media outlet through a positive article or review can be a major stepping stone in securing sales. The benefits of PR are not always immediately apparent in the establishment phase, but it is important not to neglect PR at such a crucial stage for business growth.